Wrath of Man
by Hope Madden
I’m not saying Jason Statham is unconvincing with a gun. Nor am I saying that Guy Ritchie is ill-suited to direct a humorless vengeance drama.
I’m just saying that these are not their strong suits.
Wrath of Man shadows a very dour Statham—just call him H, like the bomb—as he begins training for his new gig with a cash truck crew.
Something’s up, obviously, and the only fun to be had in the film is trying to figure out what it is, so do not watch the trailer.
At The Depot, where all the trucks come and go and all the crew mock and belittle one another, we meet the assortment of characters you will not come to know or care about: Boy Sweat Dave (Josh Hartnett – where have you been?), Dana (Niamh Algar), Bullet (Holt McCallany). All of them choking on ludicrously overwritten banter, none of them drawing even a single compelling character.
Which is fine because there are at least 16 more people you won’t get to know, won’t care if they’re killed, won’t be invested in their conflicts.
Ritchie is usually much better than this at scattershot introductions of oddball lowlife clusters, each pod with its own story, each story intersection every other story at one turn or another. Maybe he’s just too out of his element setting the action in LA rather than his beloved London, but the lived-in feel of a reprobate world that’s usually a high point to a Ritchie flick is sorely missing here.
And what is the deal with these accents? By now, we know better than to expect Statham to attempt a yank accent, but what exactly is Eddie Marsan’s nationality supposed to be? Or Andy Garcia’s, for that matter?
Hell if I know. I do know that casting Statham generally guarantees some nifty fisticuffs.
He shoots a bunch of people, sure, but there’s no panache to anything. It’s a heist movie without the meticulous execution, a vengeance thriller with no emotional connection to the villain, a Statham movie with no ass kicking, and a Ritchie movie with no humor, no flash, no style.
No thank you.